Our churches are becoming afraid to provide feedback to members. Leaders are timid in even discussing a topic with a member. In a culture of high sensitiveness, and a church world in which people only expect to be praised, the art of feedback is disappearing. A person who is burned out in ministry is not emotionally able to handle feedback. The mind says, “I am doing so much, giving so much, and you are not happy with this.” In this culture, we are not helping people grow in the Lord. So what to do. We must learn how to provide feedback in a positive and loving matter.
1. Never attribute the problem to internal issues. Never say, you are just foolish, or give the feedback to some inherent make up of the individual.
2. Sandwich the feedback in praise. Start with praise, move to feedback, end with praise.
3. Always end with “next time.” You are not pulling the plug on them, but coaching them in the process. Always provide hope for the next round. There is always a chance to improve.
4. Establish the relationship first. Just finding a problem does not give you the authority to give negative feedback to someone. You care for them, this is why this is happening.
5. Ask for feedback from them. They will have some thoughts as well. What could you have done in this situation to make it better? If you are open to feedback, they will be more open as well.
6. Establish the goal in feedback. You are looking to help people grow and develop. The glory of the church is the most important area here, this is why we are doing this.
These are just some suggestions on the process of providing feedback to someone. Often feedback is not received or poorly taken because of how it is delivered. There is a great book that all leaders in the church should read. It is called “Crucial Conversations.” One of the best.